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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 10-19-03, 06:39 AM   #1
Red Baron
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Training for Altitude

Just returned from a hunting trip in the Big Horn Mountains (apologies to non-hunters). Trip went well, I trained this summer on road bike with sprints, climbing, etc. Thought I was in good shape, lost 15 lbs, legs strong, etc. I noticed everything positive out-there while hiking, etc, Except I could not get my breath after exertion. My altitude is 700 feet, I was @ 6000 to 8000 feet in the bighorns. Any advice for training next year? (other than sleeping in a tent like lance)
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Old 10-19-03, 07:45 AM   #2
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The only way to train for altitude is to simulate the same oxygon restriction. Keeping your mouth closed and breathe only through your nose is one way. I think there is some kind of mask, that runners use, to achieve the same effect.
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Old 10-20-03, 05:08 AM   #3
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Drinking beers would be helpful, because I have seen old climbers always bing a bottle of beer on the way. Unfortunately, I donot the reason.
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Old 10-20-03, 06:16 AM   #4
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basically you can't do a whole lot more without training AT altitude...

anything to improve your fitness (cardio/lung capacity effectiveness) will help, but the other adaptations the body only makes when exposed to altitude for specific durations of time. it is called acclimatization and is why on big mountain climbing expeditions climbers spend anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks at high altitudes in preparation for a big climb. many physiological adaptations occur like increasing the number of oxygen-carrying cell in the blood. long term (people who spend YEARS at altitude) the body can make even more adaptations.

for training at "home" at low elevation there's not a lot you can do. some big-time athletes use "high altitude simulation" techniques which basically have lower pressure/and or lower oxygen content through some special chamber of mask. but for whatever reason these techniques seem to be of relatively little help --- probably b/c the adaptations come not just from training time, but from living at altitude - when sleeping, eating, etc. so you'd need to spend all your time for 2-3 weeks in a chamber or wear a mask 24/7. plus they are VERY expensive.

so basically you can:
1) try some expensive training method that probably won't help much
2) at the beginning of your trip add on extra time for acclimitization - 2 days to 2 weeks (but unless you have lots of vacation probably not an ideal solution)
3) continue to train like you did, maybe just more and just be as healthy and fit as possible and just deal with the altitude.

of course there are things you can do to minimize the effects of altitude: keep hydrated, get lots of sleep and eat well - basically give your body every advantage. plus there are some medicines but i wouldn't recommend any unless you're doing extreme stuff at >4000m (13000ft) - and most have risks/side effects.
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Old 10-20-03, 07:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levi_p
Drinking beers would be helpful, because I have seen old climbers always bing a bottle of beer on the way. Unfortunately, I donot the reason.
Probably the single worst thing you can do is to consume alcohol at higher altitudes.

Alcohol dehydrates your body even more. Every article by someone knowledge will tell you do NOT drink alcohol.
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Old 10-20-03, 08:13 AM   #6
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There's a gym called Crunch Fitness- some of them have the chambers (so I heard). Give them a call if you have one in your area and see if they have a location near you and if they have the chambers. I'm not sure if it's a chamber or a room, but either way, it would be good to get into that like once a week or so.

I have heard that it is expensive to train in, though.

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Old 10-20-03, 09:42 PM   #7
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I donot think alcohol is a kind of harazd you have talked
about. One thing I am sure you could absorb from alcohol
is encouragement.
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Old 10-20-03, 10:21 PM   #8
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Quotes regarding alcohol and high altitudes:


Avoid tobacco and alcohol and other depressant drugs including, barbiturates, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills. These depressants further decrease the respiratory drive during sleep resulting in a worsening of the symptoms

http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/safety/altitude.html

Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills or narcotics, they may decrease ventilation, intensify hypoxemia (insufficient oxygenation of the blood) and make symptoms worse.

http://www.personal.usyd.edu.au/~gerhard/pressure.html

Other measures to prevent altitude sickness include


Ascend gradually or by increments to higher altitudes
Avoid overexertion
Eat light meals
Avoid alcohol

http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/illness/altitude_sickness.html



The most effective prevention of AMS is acclimatization - this means a two to four day stay at intermediate altitude (2500-3000 metres) and a gradual ascent to higher elevations. It is better to return to a lower altitude to sleep (climb high - sleep low). Also, avoid alcohol and sleeping pills.

http://www.cha.ab.ca/travellers/disinfo_alt-sickness.html


Avoid cigarettes and alcohol.

http://www.disability.vic.gov.au/dsonline/dsarticles.nsf/pages/Altitude_sickness?opendocument


Avoid tobacco and alcohol and other depressant drugs including, barbiturates, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills. These depressants further decrease the respiratory drive during sleep resulting in a worsening of the symptoms.

http://www.medterms.com/script/main/Art.asp?ArticleKey=8584

TREATMENT OF ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS? Mild AMS
The rule is to remain at the same altitude until you have recovered. This often takes only 1 or 2 days. Most cases of mild AMS will improve with rest, aspirin or paracetamol in normal doses, and avoidance of alcohol.

http://www.nevdgp.org.au/travel/Special_cons/p_alt_s.htm


Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills or narcotics, they may decrease ventilation, intensify hypoxemia and make symptoms worse.
Drink plenty of fluids.

http://www.nrel.gov/altitude.html

and on and on. Any simple Google search will show this.

Fortunately, I find biking itself to be a most sufficient encourager, and I abstain from alcohol and any other artificial stimulants. (Actually, alcohol is a depressant, not an "encouragement").

I happen to live at 6,000 ft and have a 2nd home at almost 10,000 feet. I do have some experience and knowledge regarding altitude sickness and its prevention.


Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-21-03 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 10-23-03, 04:53 PM   #9
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Keeping your mouth closed and breathe only through your nose is one way.
Can anyone back up this theory. I would assume you would have to do this 24/7 for a very long time to see minimal effects. Has it ever been tested? Or is it just something that should work in theory but doesn't actually.
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Old 10-23-03, 06:30 PM   #10
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Velo-

I do not think that really works- I think it just makes you more efficient at breathing through your nose, that's all.

If it really was that effective, I think we'd see lots of athletes running around with clothespins on their noses while doing their chores and while training too.

They used to talk about that nonsense with the spinning program, and they talk about it a little in yoga, but in yoga, they usually talk about nose breathing as a calming technique to help bring more oxygen into the lungs- that's about all I remember from that. The spinning folks try to do that too, but it's definitely not used to try and deprive people of oxygen so they can learn to work hard without it or something like that.

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Old 10-24-03, 02:41 PM   #11
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Devr Fox gave some really good advice.

I live in Central Florida but I have gone on biking vacations numerous times to the Rocky Mountains. I don't really have any trouble with altitude and I have ridden my bike over 12,000' - just lucky.

One thing that works well for acclimatization is to go high during the day for activity - like bike over a pass or drive up and hike and then come back down and sleep at a lower altitude.

I did go on one trip where we slept at over 10,000' and when I woke up that morning I seemed to have a very, very mild headache from the altitude - I very very rarely get headaches so that is why I am pretty sure it was altitude. Of course, I was up there without any acclimatization.

That is the other thing, even a couple of days of sleeping at say 6,000' or 8,000' and exercising at higher altitudes should make an improvement.
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